Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eyes

Put yourself in my shoes. Isn’t this a very cliché statement? As often said it is even more rarely put into practice. Honestly. How can I ever do that? I cannot experience stimuli in the same manner another does because my make up is different, we are all unique. Something God has broken my heart for when I moved up here is for those who do not truly know Jesus because they reject His crazy followers and their man-made institutions, religion. Because of where I typically spend my free time and the area of town that I frequent most I have had most frequent contact with the homosexual population downtown. I’ll admit when I first moved from inner city of good ol’ southern, conservative Jacksonville, FL I was a bit shell shocked by diversity I had not experienced in my previous location. I have actually become friends with many people who are homosexual and must say they are some of the nicest people I know, very genuine, authentic human beings. As I have begun to care about this population I have really become cynical of how Christians have treated them as people. I never experienced what they have because I’m not a homosexual, but little did I know soon I would. Jake and I were looking for ways to just get involved with the Indy Pride Festival this year because there was way too many protestors and not enough Jesus lovers there. We finally got involved with the trash crew and picked up trash from 2 until midnight.

Maybe my mind was playing tricks on me, the exhaustion from heaving the heavy bag of trash over my head into the monstrous dumpster behind me as the trash grease dripped down my head may have had something to do with it too. I didn’t want to believe what I was seeing and hearing, I didn’t want to truly believe I was experiencing reality instead of some other realm of delirium. Unfortunately, I was actually live, on site, for the evangelism meltdown of the year. I look over and there is a young man, about my age, standing on the corner holding his Bible open, nice khaki pants with a tucked in blue polo shirt, yelling at the top of his lungs across the streets to his imagined audience. I say imagined audience because a speaker fails if he does not have a listener to comprehend his message, so this gentleman must have had a very creative imagination to believe his “preaching” was worth while. I just stood there covered in sweat and trash grease, wearing ugly shorts and some incredibly fresh gardening gloves with my hands to my side shaking me head. I watched as he drew a growing number of critiques who just watched and shook there heads as well. I was a Christian on the side that he was yelling at and I felt a little offended. I walked across the street to listen to him and see if what He was saying was even accurate (I’m a very big critique of anyone teaching from the Bible because this is one of my strengths). One man walks across the street to him who is quite large and in shape and steps up to this guy looking like he was going to punch him, so I was well prepared to catch this preacher man as he fell to the ground. Luckily that is not what happened and this guy calmly says, “Don’t you find it funny that you are the only one angry and yelling?” and then walks away.

I was talking with another friend who was there doing” evangelism” and he was actually taking side with this guy, saying that what he was saying was Biblically true. Here was my response, “But what about Ephesians 4 and 5?” Go ahead and check it out for yourself. My point is that there is an appropriate time and place for things to be said. You have to consider your audience, atmosphere, and other things before you speak. Obviously, his message was falling on deaf ears because all they saw was an angry guy telling them how wrong they were in the midst of their celebrating how they are (for a lack of better words). Not good timing friend. Then I saw a nice African American group peacefully handing out tracts that say salvation is free. When they were asked to leave because they did not have a booth or rent space, but just walked in the event and planted themselves in the middle of a walkway, one of the ladies makes a huge scene, yelling at the police officer. I thought to myself as I watched this, man, whatever you were trying to do good for Jesus was just ruined and everything you’ve said and done all day was just invalidated.

I got to see things from a different perspective, literally. I am convinced that what the world needs first is salvation, then sanctification, there is a huge difference. You don’t start by telling people to stop sinning, you tell them God loves them and wants to forgive them, and then God will work it out with them. We’ve got this thing all wrong. I think that the way Christians have presented themselves (ourselves) to this population specifically is horribly inaccurate of the people we should actually be if we are following Jesus. I apologize to any person that is a homosexual and have been mistreated by the church or those who call themselves Christians. The reality is that Jesus loves anyone where they are, there is no cleaning up process before we can experience His forgiveness and love. You do not have to change to earn God’s love, it is a free gift. How you live your life once you submit yourself to Jesus is something you will be held accountable for. I’m sorry we have come across as yelling, condemning, angry people. I thank God for the opportunity to be involved at Indy Pride 2009 and for giving me a new set of eyes to look through. Shouldn’t we consider the eyes of others more than our own? How do others see or view Christ, that is important!

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